Category Archives: Animal Tales

Red-Winged Blackbirds: First Sighting EVER

These beautiful birds in my yard for the first time EVER!

The hubbub outside my kitchen window at 8:30 this morning was incredible. At first I thought the local hawk had swooped in for some breakfast. But when I looked out the kitchen window, I saw a whole flock of red-winged blackbirds swarming the bird feeder and paddling around in the warm-water birdbath. They overran my regular avian visitors and the triplet squirrels who come every morning for breakfast.

The bright red and yellow flashed on the blackbirds’ wings as they tussled for a spot at the feeder; their feathers shone in the weak morning sunshine. The young blue jay perched in the tree next to my kitchen window had a slightly shocked look on his face as he watched the flock take over his feeder.

My red-sleeved guests stayed for about 5 minutes. I was entranced to see so many of them at once at my feeder; that’s why I forgot to run for my camera and that’s why I only have this pitiful photo to share. I’ve never seen a red-winged blackbird in my town, or even in New Jersey!

Pitiful photo of a small portion of the birds that were in my yard.

It’s the first time I’ve seen a flock of red-winged blackbirds up close. The jostling crowd had the regulars standing stock still in shock. Even the triplet squirrels backed up and let the visitors have at it. And just as suddenly as they appeared, they disappeared. The feeder is pretty well empty and the bird bath water needs changing.

It's strangely silent at the feeder now.

Our two Siamese, asleep when they should have been bird watching!

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, Birds, Cats, hawk, New Jersey, Photography, Siamese Cats, Squirrels

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Sneak Peek: Comfort Food Kitchen Cooking Party at Gail’s

It’s been a busy weekend around here. We started decorating the house for Christmas. My daughter Tory and her boyfriend Kailan kicked off by decorating our tree. The two teens, music blasting, laughed, talked and, oh yeah, decorated our tree; my husband Mike just needs to put the angel on the top. And since it’s raining cats and dogs today, I’m sure he’ll do it pretty quickly. You see, the rain has dampened his exterior setup of his annual Christmas light spectacular. Mike is a man on a mission when it comes to exterior Christmas lights. Suffice to say, the front of our home is aglow every Christmas season. I’ll pull the tree skirt, stocking, santas, bells, and more out of storage boxes and bop to a Christmas beat as I finish decorating the inside of the house this afternoon.

The two cheerful teens did a great job decorating the tree!

The absolute best part of this weekend for me, though, was Friday night. My Magnificent Seven girlfriend Gail hosted a cooking party at her home, complete with professional chef! Suzanne Michaud of Comfort Food Kitchen showed five of the Magnificent Seven how to prepare a number of scrumptious savory hors d’oeuvres. She demonstrated the method, gave us helpful hints, then we tried it for ourselves, hands on. What fun! Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the cooking part of the party!

Suzanne Michaud is da bomb!

Billie Jean says she's hungry. Really, really hungry.

Gail’s two German Short-Haired Pointers, Cooper and Billie Jean attended the cooking party too. You know Cooper and Billie Jean already if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time; I’ve written about walking with Gail and her dogs a couple of times. Friday night Cooper and Billie Jean, tails wagging, joined us in the kitchen. In short, they are mooches.

Prior to our arrival I heard that Cooper snatched a mouthful of peppers (I think) right from under Gail’s watchful eye.

Cooper, attempting to charm me into giving him a piece of. . .anything!

The dogs were in food heaven as the scent of French ham, Gruyere cheese, roasted peppers and more wafted right past their noses, and the dogs did their level best to entice us, the human guests, to smuggle them bits of savory.

Problem was that we, the human guests, were pounding down the delicious food as soon as it came off the stovetop or out of the oven! We weren’t sharing. Taste Suzanne’s food and you’ll know what I mean; you won’t be handing it to a dog, no matter how nice the dog! The dogs tried everything to score a snippet of food, but to no avail.

After a while Cooper resorted to being a pointer.

German Short-Haired Pointers really do point!

 

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, best friends, Christmas, Christmas Decor, Comfort Food Kitchen, Cooking, Dogs, Food, German Short-Haired Pointers, Magnificent Seven, Suzanne Michaud

Nikon D90

Mom Has a New Camera

Hi Everyone, Brutus here. Mom got a new camera last week. She's been practicing her photo-taking skills on T-Rex and me. We don't like her following us around all the time! Can you tell?

Hi from me, T-Rex. Yep. Mom's been taking our photos like all the time, trying to get a decent shot of us. Ha, ha, ha. We're having fun foiling her attempts!

Right when she thinks she has us, we close our eyes. Pretty effective, no?

Every once in a while we let Mom take a halfway decent photo.

I hate having my photo taken. . .at most angles I look like I have a fat butt, which is so not true. I have big bones.

See? See what I mean about proper angles? Look how thin I am in this photo!

We do not like being stalked by the local paparazzi!

Note from Mom: A big hug for my husband Mike who listened when I talked about Pioneer Woman, her preferred camera and her photo skills; knowing how much I enjoy taking photos and how I was yearning for a good camera, he surprised me with a Nikon D90 last week. It’s fabulous! My camera skills are rusty from all the years I’ve been using a point-and-shoot so I’ve begun snapping photos like mad to learn about all the different wheels, buttons, and knobs on this wonderful camera. Right off the bat, I just am so impressed with the level of detail I can see in the photos!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S.-based readers. My turkey — 23 pounds plus stuffing. gobble, gobble — just flew into the oven.

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, Cats, Nikon D-90, Photography, Pioneer Woman blog, Siamese Cats

The Office Troublemaker

Lily, the Rescue Kitty

Hi! My name is Lily and I work with Adventures of a Middle Age Mom on Tuesdays. She says that I am an office troublemaker. But I say I am just misunderstood.

I like to help do the filing, but I like to do it my way. And if she doesn’t like to do it my way, well, that’s HER choice.

Regularly scheduled breaks are a part of my day. I don’t understand people like her; SHE doesn’t take regular breaks and it can make her grouchy.

What? What’s that you said? Yes, I DO TOO pay attention when you’re talking to me!

When she cuts my break short she deserves what she gets. I can make it very difficult for her to do her job efficiently and well.

Bwahahahah!!!!

When she says she's “had enough” exactly what does that mean?

Open the door! I can’t hear you!

Okay. Okay. I'll get back to work. . .just open the door and let me in. Hey! Hey! Are you still in there?

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, Cat, Cats, Office Companions, rescue kitten, Work

German Short-Haired Pointers

Walkin’ the Dogs, Part 2

Talk about excitable. . .just say the word "walk" around Gail's dogs and watch'em start wiggling.

My Magnificent Seven friend Gail owns two German short-haired pointers. Back on July 29th I first wrote about taking a walk with them and Gail too, of course. I think they are goofy dogs, full of pep and barks and always looking for their next moving target: squirrel, rabbit, or anything else that moves and looks like it’s fun to chase.

Cooper as he models the "yap trap."

Cooper and Billy Jean love their walks with Gail. In fact, they can hardly contain themselves long enough for Gail to put their walking collars and leashes on. Cooper wags his tail so hard he’d like to knock the wooden fence over,while Billy Jean jumps and wiggles and barks, making it that much more difficult to wrap that ‘yap trap’ collar thing around her muzzle.

Finally, finally they settle down long enough to be strapped in and have their leashes clipped onto their collars. And. . .

We are OFF.  As Gail and I catch up, talking about a mile a minute, the dogs are very busy.

Down the sidewalk, tails up!

Noses in the air, tails wagging!

The dogs are so excited to be outside and walking that we really motor along the sidewalks in town!

Around the corner and down the street, tails up!

Trot around the next corner and STOP.

Cooper in the lead.

Cooper usually leads and Billy Jean bounces along behind him.

Cooper going into partial pointer mode (note his right front leg).

It's a squirrel, Mom!

Look! Look!

Be afraid. Be very afraid if you are a gray squirrel and a German Short-Haired Pointer is in the area!

Squirrel! Squirrel!

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, Dogs, Exercise, German Short-Haired Pointers, Magnificent Seven, Squirrels

Our Siamese Cats and a Stuffed Snake

What Our Cats Do When We Aren’t Home

This stuffed snake is more than five feet long.

Our two Siamese cats, Brutus and T-Rex, like to play with our daughter Tory’s stuffed animals. They drag the little stuffed bears and rabbits and all from place to place, leaving them in strategic spots where I am sure to trip over them, the stuffed animals I mean.

T-Rex, in particular, loves stuffed animals.  When he’s feeling playful we can hear the steady thump, thump of a little critter hitting the floor as he rhythmically tosses it into the air, watches it fall to the floor, then tosses it into the air again. If T-Rex sees us watching him, he immediately stops, sits, and stares at us as if to say, “Would you please leave so I can get back to business?”

Last night the two Siamese, Brutus and T-Rex, were sleeping peacefully when my husband Mike and I left the house. We were going to pick up Tory from work, drop her off at the house, then Mike and I were going to dinner. The round trip excursion takes all of, maybe, 7 minutes.

Two innocent, sleepy Siamese.

As I parked the car at our local Charlie Brown’s Restaurant, both of our cell phones rang, signaling the arrival of a new text message. Mike opened his phone and looked at the message, and he started to laugh, hard.

When Tory walked into the house this is what she saw:

Do you think they had a tough time?!

In her text message that accompanied the above photo she said, “ clearly this took a team effort.”

T-Rex, although younger, is likely the ringleader in this caper.

Our two Siamese had accomplished a mighty feat in a mere 7 minutes.

Tory forwarded the photo to her brother Max at Big Ten College. Max, as expected, texted Tory back, “Hilarious! LOL!”

Never let it be said that when you leave two Siamese asleep on the sofa that they will stay asleep.

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, Cats, Cell Phones, Siamese Cats, Snake

A Tribute to My Favorite Ragdoll

 

When you had turkey Jordy paid attention, very close attention!

 

My best friend Carole had two ragdoll cats, Jordy and Kimi, siblings whom she adopted after their owner died 11 years ago. Recently, Jordy passed away after an arduous 4-year battle (for both cat and mistress) with severe colitis. His colitis wore him down. It wore him out. I cried when I found out.

I fell in love with Jordy, Mr. Dignified who was so unlike my smaller, sleeker and mischievous Siamese, as soon as I met him. He, on the other hand, didn’t seem impressed with my credentials, having sniffed Siamese on my breath, so to speak. I worked hard to make him love me though; my daughter Tory and I would care for him and Kimi when Carole was away on business. I invented fun games that involved my hand, a throw rug and his ever-quick fluffy round paws. I sneaked him turkey bits. I played hide and seek with him.  Unlike my kooky Siamese, Jordy was mostly indifferent to my games. I was puzzled, until I realized the true nature of the rag dollbreed. Can you say, “Placid?” Can you say, “Laid back?”

 

Fun in the sun means something a little different to a ragdoll than a Siamese!

 

After Jordy relocated (with Carole and Kimi) to Maine I saw him less often. And I think he missed me! When I visited him (and Carole and Kimi, of course) in Maine he was my faithful buddy, following me around and keeping me company on my bed late into the night. I was in cat fur heaven. If you’ve ever known a ragdoll, you’ll know exactly what I mean. I was, literally, covered in fur when he was around! I couldn’t resist sneaking up on that big boy, lifting him for a hug, then quickly putting him down before he got really mad at me. Jordy, old Mr. Dignified, would get so ruffled when I scooped him up like that; his mistress didn’t handle him that way at all!

 

Can you tell I just did a scoop and hug? Look at Jordy's expression. Priceless!

 

Jordy would let me pet his huge gorgeous head and ears. His caramel and cream fur would catch the light and sparkle as his icy blue eyes squeezed shut in pleasure. His purr, the biggest one I’ve every heard, would start low and gain in volume. I think Jordy sometimes forgot to be Mr. Dignified when he was around me. He would play like he meant it: eyes narrowed, whiskers twitching, big round fluffy paws kneading the carpet before he would P o u n c e! Then he’d sit back, shake his head, and become Mr. Dignified again.

 

When the refrigerator door opened Jordy was right next to it!

 

 

Turkey? Did someone say they have turkey?!

 

Farewell, good friend!

 

Jordy, faithful companion and good friend.

 

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Animal Tales, Cat, Cats, Death and Dying, Good-Bye, Rag Doll Cat, Ragdoll cats, Siamese Cats, Sick